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Al Ain ready for Al Hilal challenge, Esmail Ahmad says

‘The friendly matches were ideal for preparation but the actual contest will be way different’

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Al Ain defender Esmail Ahmad revealed that the team is in the best of shape and high on morale ahead of their AFC Champions League quarter-final clash against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal on August 21.

“We have great confidence in ourselves and are motivated for the contest against Al Hilal at home,” said Ahmad adding that the contest, though in front of the home fans, will be tough and the side will have to play to the best of their ability to come up trumps.

“We are well aware that our mission will not be easy but at the same time we have all the reasons for excellence to reach the next stage of the continental championship,” revealed Ahmad whose side played two friendlies during the final preparation for the crucial match.

Al Hilal have already started their local league engagements on a high but Ahmad was of the view that Al Ain are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

“The friendly matches were ideal for preparation but the actual contest will be way different. However, Al Ain will be ready to face the Saudi outfit 100 per cent. Coach Zoran Mamic has adopted the best methods to prepare our team technically, physically and psychologically,” said Ahmad, who went on to reveal that each player is well aware of his role and will put his best foot forward.

“Every player of Al Ain knows his responsibility. We are keen to deliver and are not taking the opposition lightly and also respect them. We know we have to be at the height of readiness and need to keep the intensity from the beginning to the end of the match,” he added.

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